Can I Recover Damages for a Medical Condition Made Worse by a Car Accident?
November 16, 2021
If you are seriously injured in a car accident that is not your fault, you have the right to seek damages to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs incurred because of the crash. However, insurance companies often try to deny or minimize the amount of money they will pay for a car accident claim.
If you had a pre-existing medical condition that was made worse by your car accident, recovering damages for additional pain and suffering and extra medical treatment may be even more difficult. An experienced lawyer can help level the playing field by collecting evidence to build a strong case.
What Pre-Existing Conditions Can Be Made Worse by a Car Accident?
Many people who are involved in a car accident already suffer from previous injuries or chronic conditions that make them more vulnerable to the impact of a collision. Pre-existing conditions that can be made worse by a car accident include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Prior traumatic brain injury (TBI), including a concussion
- Back problems, including herniated discs and degenerative disc disease
- Previous fractures or broken bones
- Prior knee or shoulder injuries
- Recent surgeries
If you have any of these conditions, a car crash may significantly aggravate your pain, reverse months of healing, or accelerate degeneration. The impact of a collision can make a medical condition much worse than it would have been if the accident had never happened.
However, those involved in a car accident often run into problems when attempting to claim financial damages for costs that arise directly from aggravation or acceleration. Insurers are likely to attempt to reduce their settlement offer if they know about the pre-existing condition.
Should You Attempt to Hide Pre-Existing Conditions When Filing a Claim?
You should never attempt to hide or lie about pre-existing conditions when filing a personal injury claim, despite the challenges you may face in obtaining full recovery of damages. While insurers will likely attempt to point to a pre-existing condition as a reason for minimizing the value of a claim, they may have a stronger argument in denying a claim if you lie about your medical history. Being dishonest about your medical history can weaken your claim significantly.
If you have any questions or concerns about disclosing a previously known medical condition to insurers, contact an experienced car accident lawyer. The law is actually on your side if you are open and forthright about disclosing a pre-existing condition, and a skilled lawyer can make sure your legal rights are protected in this situation.
If someone else’s negligence caused an accident that aggravated your pre-existing condition, the negligent party can be held accountable for the additional injuries caused by their negligence. Under the legal system, this is known as the “eggshell skull rule.”
What Is the Eggshell Rule?
The eggshell rule protects the rights of injured persons whose pre-existing conditions make them more susceptible to injury. It says that a negligent party can be held liable for damages for the aggravation of a person’s pre-existing injury or illness. In other words, the law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover all damages stemming from their accident if it is proven that the pre-existing injuries were aggravated.
If you can demonstrate that the collision made your existing injuries or chronic conditions worse, you are legally entitled to recover financial payment for resulting additional medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Examples may include additional prescriptions for pain, additional physical therapy, or hospitalization to repair rebroken bones or other types of treatment.
What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Quick Settlement?
If you have a pre-existing condition, you may be pressured by insurers to accept a settlement after a collision, even if it does not fully pay for your resulting medical bills and other expenses. If an insurance company offers you a quick settlement, do not sign or agree to anything without first contacting an experienced lawyer.
It is important to contact a lawyer because you may be unaware of the full, long-term costs of car accident injuries. These costs include not only ongoing medical bills, but also the financial impact that injuries have on your ability to perform daily tasks and earn a living.
In many instances, it takes legal skill and experience to calculate the full costs of a car accident injury. This includes taking into account not only current and future medical costs, but also projecting the long-term difference in earning potential and quality of life because of the accident.
How Can an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you recover full damages by taking care of the details that are essential to building a successful claim. These details include the following:
- Collecting and presenting evidence that demonstrates negligence on the part of the other driver or other parties.
- Obtaining all necessary medical records to support an aggravated injury claim.
- Filing all necessary paperwork within the statute of limitations.
For these and other reasons, it is important to contact a qualified lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to preserve evidence and process the paperwork necessary to preserve your legal rights to a full and just settlement.
Galfand Berger LLP has been protecting the rights of personal injury clients for decades. Our successful track record on behalf of our clients includes the following cases:
- $1.1 million-dollar recovery for closed head injury. A negligent driver turned in front of our client, causing the car accident. Our client was initially admitted to the hospital with a bruised forehead. Over time, her injuries did not resolve, and she continued to suffer memory loss and other problems. We obtained more than a million dollars in damages for her closed head injury.
- $1 million-dollar settlement for severe fractures. Our client suffered a fractured pelvis and fractured leg because of a car accident caused by another driver. Insurers attempted to get our client to accept a low settlement. Acting upon our advice, the client declined the offer, and we subsequently took the case to trial and obtained a million-dollar settlement.
- $750,000 settlement for herniated disc. Our client was a drywall worker who made his living performing tasks that involved heavy overhead work. While driving a company truck, he was involved in an accident that resulted in a herniated disc in his neck. The injury made it difficult and painful for him to continue doing the work he had done before the accident. We obtained a just settlement for his injuries.
If you have been in a car accident and had a pre-existing medical condition, it is crucial for you to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Our lawyers can also help you by launching an investigation as soon as possible to preserve the evidence that is needed to strengthen your claim.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Can Calculate the True Cost of Your Injury Claim
Too many people miss the opportunity to pursue full recovery of damages. If you have been seriously injured in a collision and you have concerns about a pre-existing medical condition, contact our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.